mixed emotions. pun intended.
One thing I've been thinking about (in addition to so many other things) is my place in South Africa as a mixed/colored person. It has been really interesting and pleasantly surprising to see so many mixed people around Cape Town. While it is not at all justifiable to split up the population into three racial groups with different privileges or rights, it's interesting to me that mixed people were recognized as a group on their own. All throughout my life people have tried to tell me who I am or "which side" I belong to or relate to more and I've never understood why it's so hard for people to see me as a person, a mixed girl, not a half white, half black person whose identity is split down the middle. People always ask which side I relate to more, which side I identify with more, which side I hang out with more, which side I am attracted to more, etc. It's as though there aren't enough mixed people in the United States yet for us to create a new box to racially stereotype, so we have to squeeze mixed people into the boxes of stereotypes we're already comfortable with. When I was helping Anthea with the pamphlet on the computer yesterday, she asked to see pictures of my family and seemed pretty interested in the fact that my parents were an interracial couple. She said that the stereotype here is that if a black woman marries a white man, it is probably for money. She also said that while people might not say anything to your face, it is definitely not common and sometimes looked down upon to cross culture lines. She personally said she knows she can't control who she falls in love with, but she would definitely not look for it (it being an interracial relationship). While the modern US doesn't really have what you would call cultural traditions that prohibit interracial marriages, it is still also a fairly uncomfortable situation. I told Anthea about how many of my parent's friends told them their kids would have so many problems growing up as mixed children and how my dad's mom didn't even come to their wedding because of her disagreement with the relationship. While I have definitely had (and probably am still having) identity issues as the result of having a white father and a black mother, I would never ever ask for anything different. If anything I wish I had even more culture and heritage mixed into my family. I love having parents from different cultures and sides of the world. From the time I was born I have been exposed to so many things many people my age have never seen and I feel more well-rounded and open to other cultures because of it. If there's such a thing as "mixed-guilt" I would probably have it. Even walking through the township I am secretly happy and then almost guilty about the fact that until I open my mouth and expose my American accent, no one will ever look at me the way they look at the white students in our group. So many people have already told me that they would just assume I am a colored South African if they didn't hear me talking. Even though I am half white, I am most likely able to avoid the white stereotype here in South Africa. At the same time, in the US I am never seen as white either but then I am distrusted and mistreated by those who look down on blacks/Africans/African Americans. It's always more complex than I can explain, but being here has definitely given me a different perspective on how I identify myself.